15 May 2001
Kids targeted in anti-milk campaign

By FWi staff

A CAMPAIGN by an animal rights group which tells children that milk is bad for them has been condemned as irresponsible by Welsh farmers leaders.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims that drinking milk causes spots, flatulence, excess phlegm and weight gain.

To illustrate this, it plans to distribute trading cards outside schools featuring characters such as “Chubby Charlie” and “Spotty Sue and “Windy Wendy”.

Animated versions of the “milk suckers” cards are also to be found on the PETA website.

National Farmers Union Cymru president Hugh Richards, said: “This campaign is absolute tripe, and is a scandalous attempt to terrify schoolchildren.”

Mr Richards said that PETA is resorting to emotive shock tactics on schoolchildren, showing that it has completely lost the logical argument.

Claims that children believe they will get fat drinking milk were against all dietary advice and “downright irresponsible”, added the farmers leader.

PETA also says milk is linked to a host of more serious health problems, and claims that animals are badly treated in the industry.

“Dairy farmers who have the utmost care for their animals are outraged that an organisation peddling such lies intends to influence school children,” said Mr Richards.

“The list of factual inaccuracies is endless.”

But PETA spokeswoman Toni Vernelli said the campaign was trying to balance pro-milk campaigning aimed at children.

“Its up to children to make an informed choice and were putting across the story they never get. Cards are a fun way for children to look at the subject.”

NFU Cymru has asked Welsh Local Government Association and the local authorities to ensure that this material is not distributed in Welsh schools.

Consumer research has shown that household consumption of milk has increased by 12 million litres since a major advertising campaign last year.

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